Red Flags Toronto Homebuyers Should Look For

17 April 2019
Robert Greenberg Team

Looking for a new place to call home is both exciting and overwhelming. There’s a lot to consider: budget, aesthetic, neighbourhood, layout, utilities, whether it meets your current and future needs, and more.

As you’re keeping an eye out for the reasons you should put in an offer on a home, don’t ignore these red flags.

Foundation Problems

Hairline cracks in houses indicate that a house is settling; big cracks signal structural problems with the foundation, which is both expensive and dangerous. Other signs of structural problems include sticking doors or windows, cracks above window frames, and uneven floors. Be sure the house has a strong foundation before submitting an offer.

Fresh Paint in One Spot

If you find a patch of fresh paint in a seemingly random place, or covering a seemingly random wall, there’s a good chance that it’s hiding something nefarious, like mould or other signs of damage. Make sure to look up at the ceiling as well.

Stains on Walls or Ceilings

Not every homeowner will cover up wall or ceiling stains with paint, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem. Stains can result from leaks in the roof, plumbing issues, ice damming, or another problem.

It’s important to ask what caused the stains and whether there’s still a problem. It’s possible the stains are leftover from a leak that’s been fixed, but you won’t know if you don’t ask.

Evidence of Living or Dead Animals

You might be surprised by the kinds of animals that find their way into walls and attics. Noises above and around you that sound suspiciously like scurrying are likely squirrels or mice. The surest sign of a dead animal is the smell. Trust me, you can’t miss it.

An Excessive Amount of Air Fresheners and Scented Candles

Speaking of smells, be wary of strangely large assortments of air fresheners and candles. A couple spread around the house is normal; who doesn’t want their home to smell a little fresher? But if there’s some type of scent-issuing device in every room, it’s safe to assume they’re trying to mask a foul odour, which is usually a sign of something deeply unpleasant.  

Shoddy DIY Repair Work

A lot of people think that because they watched a YouTube tutorial, they’re an expert repairperson, but this is rarely true. Problems “fixed” by an amateur are very likely to reoccur down the line, possibly to an even worse extent, costing you a lot of money and aggravation. Take a close look at plumbing, carpentry, and electrical work to make sure there are no signs of DIY handy work.

Evidence of Pests

There are varying degrees of problems that pests can cause, from that icky feeling from insects like earwigs, to thousand-dollar damages caused by termites, powder post beetles, and carpenter ants. If you suspect any type of pest, call a pest inspector in addition to the regular home inspector. The inexpensive cost of a pest inspection is well worth it to avoid more serious and costly pest problems later.

Bad Neighbourhood Conditions

When you buy a house, you’re also buying into the neighbourhood, so you should pay just as much attention to it. In addition to the positive aspects that you look for (good schools, nice parks, easy transit access, good location, etc.), keep an eye out for signs that the neighbourhood is in poor condition. Look for boarded up or vacant properties and find out about the crime rate in the area. Remember that you have to make your way through your neighbourhood streets whenever you come and go from your house.

Poor Drainage and Grading

One of your biggest fears as a homebuyer should be water damage. In addition to ruining furniture and other household items, water damage can cause mould growth, contaminated water, and severe structural damage. When there’s water in the home, poor drainage or grading is usually the cause.

Signs of poor drainage are pooling water, overflowing gutters, migrating mulch in flower beds, water stains in the basement, and cracks in the foundation. Proper grading makes a difference and should slope away from the home’s foundation.

There’s a lot to keep in mind when you’re in the market for a new home, but an experienced luxury real estate agent can help you stay on top of everything. Get in touch with top selling Toronto real estate agent, Robert Greenberg!